Matthews reveals he's played through hand injury this season
Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews is having a down year by his lofty standards but revealed Wednesday that a hand injury has played a part.
"It was bothering me," Matthews told The Athletic's Jonas Siegel. "It just felt like something was off. I just felt like ... I wasn't able to do exactly what I wanted to at times."
Matthews is still having a productive season but isn't at the level the hockey world has grown accustomed to. He's recorded 31 goals and 67 points in 59 games after tallying 60 goals and 106 points in 73 contests a year ago when he won the Hart Trophy.
His 0.53 goals per game is his lowest since his rookie campaign when he took home the Calder Trophy, and his 4.22 shots per game is also down from 4.77 last season. Matthews' faceoff win rate is also down from 56.2% in 2021-22 to 53.2%.
Matthews missed a pair of games in January with an undisclosed injury then missed five contests later that month and into February with a knee sprain.
But the two-time "Rocket" Richard Trophy winner appears to be rounding into form of late, as he's racked up five goals and five assists over his last seven games.
"I think my hand and everything has been feeling a lot better, just stronger," Matthews said.
The Maple Leafs will need Matthews in peak form if they hope to advance past Round 1 of the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and perhaps even win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1967.